I can’t say I’ve wanted to do anything else other than being an Athletic Trainer. When I was in middle school, I remember seeing some of our basketball players get hurt and I wondered how you would figure out what was wrong with them and what you would do to make them better. I started researching careers and came across athletic training. I instantly knew that was what I wanted to do. So I began researching colleges while I was in middle school to see the different programs that were out there.
Then I began planning.
I planned on taking some health classes in high school. When I was in high school, I planned where I would go to college, what I needed to do ahead of time,
and when I needed to get it done. I can say planning is my nature. I’m a little bit of a nerd that way. Planning and making lists go hand-in-hand for me. And don’t forget the details! I need ALL the details. If we are going somewhere, I need to know what time are we going, what time will we be back, who are we going with, do I need to bring anything, etc. Then I write all those details in my planner.
While I love technology and the great things it does for us…I am a millennial. When it comes to planning, I much prefer paper with something tangible in my hands to a digital one. It’s just not the same feeling for me, much less having a good smell (yes, I am that weirdo who loves the smell of books). While I have been serving as an adjunct instructor for our university’s Athletic Training Program for the past 6 years, I have noticed that many students often struggle with keeping up with assignments and tasks or having ways to keep things all together. I also feel like some students struggle with making connections between how certain pathologies present and then what specifically can you do with them during the rehabilitation process to get them back to return to play. With my planning, detail-oriented brain, I wanted to create resources for both students and certified athletic trainers that would be helpful.
One of the first things I created was a digital planner. I wanted to create a planner specifically for athletic trainers. I know tons of ATs that use them already, but they’re the generic ones and often don’t leave room for certain things ATs need to keep track of. And while I did say I am much more of a physical, in my hands type of planner, I felt that creating a digital one was much more cost-effective and would be able to reach more individuals (you can still
print it out if you prefer to!). The planner is also undated so that each person can use and date accordingly. Each month includes places for:
● Creating monthly goals
● Supplies to order
● Continuing education events
● Keep track of hours worked
● Days off you’ve taken
● Things you learned during the month
● Injuries you’ve seen
Additionally, each week includes an hourly layout. Help to time block your day more and keep track of appointments, practices, and see your “day at a glance” in this layout. You can also keep track of main events that week, appointments, regular rehabilitation sessions, and your weekly hours worked. At the end of the planner is an extra section with some bonuses. This includes a general space for all your contacts in your organization and those you may need to refer patients to, preseason and end of the year checklists, inventory log, supply list, and many more. If you’re not into the whole planning world, but still like checklists, I do have some of the various checklists separate from the planner as well.
I also wanted to create a planner for AT students. So after I finished the AT planner, I worked on creating a student planner. A bit different than the AT version (dated version from July 2022-June 2023), there are still many benefits for students using this planner. This planner includes a place to keep track of all their course information including the instructor’s office hours (because do they ever remember?!) as well as their clinical site and preceptor information. Each month, students can also track their clinical hours and new skills they’ve learned. Weekly, students have a general “To Do” list, a place for their assignments that week, an area for the competencies and skills they need to perform or review, as well as a habit tracker.
When I started working on the planners, I was working on a side project and was writing some thoughts down while also writing down some new exercises I wanted to incorporate with one of my patients. I initially thought of creating a notepad to help students prep for their BOC exam. I always hated having multiple resources and going back to try to find a particular section I needed to reference. So, I created an Injury Review notepad. Here, all the information on that pathology is on one sheet to reference. This includes areas for risk factors, signs/symptoms, etiology/mechanism of injury, treatment, rehabilitation, an important fact, and recommendations.
The Treatment and Rehabilitation notepad then came from planning out what I was going to do with my patients that day or their next few visits. I again wanted to see every aspect to ensure that I was addressing things appropriately or if I needed to make changes to their current plan. This notepad includes areas for modalities, mobility/flexibility exercises, proprioceptive and neuromuscular exercises, strengthening exercises, and manual therapy. What I love about this, is that it’s beneficial for both students and professionals. Students can use this as they are just learning about an injury and how to go about treating it, they can use this with their preceptor at their clinical site prior to working with a patient, and can see how treatment may change depending on the stage of injury or healing. As a professional, these can be used to jot down ideas prior to seeing a patient or even used to write down their program that day before entering it into your EMR.
Finding ways to keep track of your schedule and learning better ways to help you study or plan out your treatment sessions will make it a little easier when your day is full of chaos. Because as ATs, we all know our day never goes according to plan.
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